Bulgaria May Set Up Out-Of-Court Dispute Settlement Body in Commerce
Bulgaria mulls setting up an authority tasked with out-of-court dispute resolution between producers and traders, according to Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva.
Speaking Friday in Parliament, she noted that the step had yielded good results in the countries where it had been applied.
Bobev, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, informed that a set of changes to the Consumer Protection Act would be submitted to Parliament soon.
Bulgaria's Deputy Minister pointed out that the restoration of the balance between producers and traders in the sphere of commerce was a major priority of the government, adding that the goal was to be achieved mainly through the introduction of legal changes aimed at guaranteeing the equal treatment of the two sides in the process.
She expressed regrets that the talks with major retail chains on the matter did not run smoothly, stressing that the legislation targeted unfair commercial practices in general, regardless of the entity which applied them.
Bobeva stated that statistics indicated a "certain degree of concentration" in domestic retail trade in several major chains of stores over the past 7-8 years.
Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister argued that "particularly unfavorable trends" were discernible as regards the participation of local producers in retail trade.
On February 11, representatives of the government informed at a business forum that domestic legislation concerning retail changes would be amended. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski leveled criticism at the sector, stressing that local and international suppliers were being treated differently. Representatives of retail chains opposed the measure, warning that the new provisions would result in dramatic price spikes.
Bobeva informed Friday that the authorities had conducted 733 inspections at supermarkets and hypermarkets across the country, issuing 7 administrative penalty statements and 34 lists of recommendations for removing the irregularities detected. She said that the most common violations were related to labeling requirements.
As regards the idea to close the Bulgaria's State Commission on Commodity Exchanges and Wholesale Markets, she said that the process of including the commission into the structure of the Ministry of Economy and Energy aimed to boost the control functions of the authority.
She insisted that the step was not simply aimed at cutting administrative staff but at enhancing oversight.
Bobeva also informed that an analysis of the current state of commodity exchanges and wholesale market had shown that a large number of them were experiencing serious financial difficulties.
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